We had already seen almost all of the sculptures in Chicago’s Millennium Park, including Buckingham Fountain, Crown Fountain, Cloud Gate, and Agora Sculpture, and didn’t want to go home before also checking out Millennium Monument in Wrigley Square.
Wrigley Square is a tree-lined, public square located in the northwest section of Millennium Park. It contains a large lawn, public fountain, and the Millennium Monument, an almost full-sized replica of the original peristyle that sat in this area of Grant Park between 1917 and 1953. Intended to serve as an outdoor exhibit and performance space, Wrigley Square has earned a reputation as a vibrant place for cultural events such as local and international art and photography exhibitions and occasional live musical performances.
The Original Peristyle
The original peristyle was designed in 1917 by renowned Chicago planner Edward H. Bennett who was known for designing the nearby Buckingham Fountain. Located in the same location as the current Wrigley Square, it was 40 feet tall and 100 feet wide, and was made of concrete, which did not stand up to the Lake Michigan lakefront weather. In 1953, the peristyle was demolished to make way for the Grant Park North Garage.
Millennium Monument, the limestone replica peristyle that graces Wrigley Field is a tribute to the founders and funders of Millennium Park, including the William Wrigley, Jr. Foundation and other individual, corporate, and foundation benefactors. The pedestal of the peristyle is inscribed with the names of the 115 financial donors who made the 91 contributions of at least $1 million each to help pay for Millennium Park.
Millennium Monument’s design, by David Dillon and Michael Patrick Sullivan of OWP&P, is based on original drawings by Bennett found in the Chicago Park District’s archive. The structure however, was scaled down approximately 15% to accommodate the accessible ramp that runs behind the monument. Its semi-circular row of 24 paired, Doric-style columns rise nearly 40 feet tall and has a diameter of 80 feet. Each limestone column was cut from an Indiana quarry and created in five 2,200 pound sections reinforced by steel rods and plates.
The fountain in front of the monument is a bronze-cast replica of the finials that adorn the Wrigley Building. Unlike Buckingham Fountain, which is fenced off, this fountain remains open with a circular ledge to allow park-goers the freedom to sit next to the open water to enjoy the atmosphere.
Know Before You Go
- The Millennium Monument is located in Millennium Park’s Wrigley Square at 201 East Randolph Street, Chicago, Illinois 60601, on the corner of East Randolph Street and North Michigan Avenue.
- It is a scaled-down replica of the original peristyle that sat in this area of Grant Park between 1917 and 1953.
- While the monument is beautiful during the day, at night it is lit up and makes a remarkable visual statement.